by mark spivey
A first-grade teacher at a Somerset County preparatory school has been terminated amid a budding probe into allegations that he sexually assaulted a young student at a Morris County public school seven years ago, authorities said.
Jason B. Fennes, 37, of Boonton was arrested Monday afternoon at the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office and charged with second-degree sexual assault and second-degree endangering the welfare of a child, with bail set at $100,000.
Fennes was hired at Cedar Hill Prep School on Cedar Grove Lane in the Somerset section of Franklin Township in September 2010, Principal Don Seeley said Tuesday. Fennes was let go Feb. 21 in what Seeley described as a joint decision made by himself and the school’s owner, but he declined to say why.
“I can’t reveal much information, according to my attorney,” Seeley said. “But we just found out about his arrest yesterday … the (charges) obviously was based on something that happened (in Morris County).”
Seeley also declined to discuss Fennes’ performance as a teacher or whether any parents ever raised questions or concerns about his work. But Seeley did add that Fennes, one of the most decorated athletes in Monmouth University history when he starred on the men’s track team there in the mid-1990s, coached a seasonal club track team that was affiliated with Cedar Hill Prep. Students in kindergarten through seventh grade participate with the team, he said.
Fennes was employed in the Montville district from September 1998 through June 2010, when he taught first grade at the William Mason School, according to Schools Superintendent Paul R. Fried. Fennes also once coached the boys track team at Montville High School for at least two years.
The alleged sexual assault took place in the first half of 2005, but did not come to the attention of police until Dec. 20 of last year. The girl was a student in his class for the 2005-06 school year, authorities said.
Detective Edward Mitreuter of the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office met with a person, identified in the arrest affidavit as “Citizen Witness 1,” who told him that the victim had told her in 2007 that Fennes had sexually assaulted her in the bathroom that was attached to his classroom, the affidavit said.
Source : app